CRACKING ON | Rest of North West

Paul Unger

Having visited Liverpool and Manchester in the first two parts of the series this final edition covers a selection of the best of the rest of the North West as submitted by readers.

It is clearly impossible to capture here everything that is happening on site across the region. News of starts on site and toppings out as well as detailed site visits all appear regularly on Place North West, creating a constant record of progress.

This selection of nearly 50 live projects offers a fascinating snapshot of the variety of projects ongoing in the North West today, taking in cultural attractions, education, civil engineering – there are four bridges – as well as industrial, offices, private and social residential and several council-led town centre developments.

Thanks to everyone who submitted schemes for this feature. Place is always interested in construction updates at any time. Send yours to

Northbank, Wirral Waters

Northbank Wirral Waters

Developer: Peel L&P

Investor: Peel L&P, Aviva, Homes England, ESIF/ERDF

Description: Site remediation and public realm in 16 acres to support £180m new housing, focused on Left Bank Growth Area of Birkenhead Dock system

Value: £180m. Current workstream £6m

Team: contractor Soilfix; architects BCA Landscape, Reform Landscape; QS RPS; planner Turleys; archaeological consultant WSP and Salford Archaeology Department; Ecological consultants TEP

Public realm works that include pocket parks and waterside boardwalk adjacent to East Float Dock to commence August 2020 designed by BCA and Reform Landscape Architects. The site preparation works and public realm support housing delivery of 1,106 homes including the Legacy Foundation development of 500 homes designed by Glenn Howells Architects in conjunction with Wirral Council and Aviva. A further development of 350 open market homes for sale designed by shedkm undertaken as a 50:50 JV between Peel L&P and Urban Splash. In addition, Belong specialist care village comprising the equivalent of 109 homes including 72 care apartments organised into six household clusters with an additional 34 apartments and three guest rooms designed by Pozzoni.

Tower Road, Wirral Waters

Tower Road Wirral Waters

Developer: Wirral Council and Peel L&P

Funders: Peel L&P, Department for Transport via NPIF, ESIF, ERDF

Description: 300 metres of streetscape and public realm

Value: £3.2m works for a number of projects totalling £40m

Team: contractor Cambrianway; architect BCA Landscape; QS RPS; planner Turleys; transport Vectos

A significant streetscape project in the Four Bridges neighbourhood of Wirral Waters started in June 2020 to improve the environment and prioritise cyclists and pedestrians. Engagement with Wirral Met College Construction department to ensure construction students benefit from site visits and potential work experience.

Liverpool FC Training Academy, Kirkby

Developer: Liverpool Football Club

Value: £50m

Description: 100,000 sq ft training centre combines First Team and U23 Academy facilities

Team: contractor McLaughlin & Harvey; architect KSS; planner turley

Completion expected later this summer in time for new season. Late application to install eight-metre tall wind fences around the pitches after realising it gets quite windy up on the hill in Kirkby.

Booths Park No6, Knutsford

Developer: Bruntwood Works

Description: 71,000 sq ft office

Team: contractor GMI Construction; architect Calderpeel; QS/EA RBA; planner P4 Planning; structural engineers DW Consulting; M&E Hulley & Kirkwood; landscape architect Planit-IE; healthy & safety Rider Levett Bucknall

Precast concrete cores and structural steel frame have been erected, precast concrete floor planks have been installed, roof waterproofing commenced and cladding is now being installed. Due to complete in February 2021.

Novus, Parkgate Industrial Estate, Knutsford

Chancerygate Novus Aerial View July 2020 Knutsford

Developer: Chancerygate

Description: 139,500 sq ft in nine warehouses

Cost: £10.6m

Team: contractor Caddick; UMC Architects; structural engineer Bradbrook Consulting; services engineer Cudd Bentley Consulting; principal designer Building & Workplace Solutions

Due to complete autumn 2020.

Alderley Park, Macclesfield

Alderley Park Car Park Bruntwood SciTech2

Developer: Bruntwood SciTech

Description: 644,000 sq ft, 2,250-space car park, over seven storeys

Value: £21m

Team: contractor Caddick; architect BDP; principal designer and structural engineer BKP; QS RBA; project manager Bruntwood SciTech; planning Avison Young; ecology Tyler Grange; M&E – Hydrock MRB; programming consultant 4RedPlanning

Piling completed, precast cores installed, steelwork and car park concrete decks installation progressing between cores, ramps completed to level five, cladding bracket installation progressing on core exteriors, electrical first fix ongoing.

Holiday Inn and Ibis Budget Hotels, Airport City Manchester

Holiday Inn & Ibis Budget Hotels

Developer: Airport City Limited Partnership

Description: 543 beds

Value: Over £70m

Team: development manager MAG Property; investor P1 Hotels; main contractor BCEGI; project manager Faithful & Gould

The major earthworks for the new 262 bed Ibis Budget and 280 bed Holiday Inn hotels opposite Terminal 2 are now complete and the above ground structures will be emerging in Q4 this year, with the hotels due to be open in Q1 2022.

Pedestrian & Cycle Bridge, Airport City Manchester

Airport City Bridge


Developer: Airport City Limited Partnership

Cost: £6m

Team: development manager MAG Property; main contractor BCEGI; architect 5plus; landscape Planit-IE; structural designer RoC Consulting; fabrication and installation Cleveland Bridge UK; project manager Faithful & Gould; MEP engineer Arup

Airport City Manchester’s pedestrian and cycle bridge was successfully installed on 11 July and will be fully open to provide pedestrian and cycle access from the Ground Transport Interchange to the main Airport City Manchester office development plots and onwards to Wythenshawe from November.

The Hut Group’s ‘THQ’ Office Campus, Airport City Manchester

THQ Enabling Works Airport City Manchester The Hut Group

Developer: Airport City Limited Partnership

Investor: The Hut Group

Description: 288,000 sq ft office and 1,100-space multi-storey car park

Cost: £650,000

Team: development manager MAG Property; main contractor R&M Construction; project manager Faithful & Gould

Enabling works started on, with the major building works due to commence in Q4.

Airport City North Enabling Works

Airport City North Enabling Works

Developer: Airport City Limited Partnership

Size: 40 acres

Cost: £1.5m Cost

Team: development manager MAG Property; contractor BCEGI; landscape Planit-IE; structural designer RoC Consulting; project manager Faithful & Gould

Watercourse diversion, major cut and fill works, removal of a redundant former highway and a retaining wall for the M56 spur roundabout. These completed works mean Airport City Manchester North is now a shovel ready development for offices, advanced manufacturing and logistics.

dnata, World Freight Centre, Manchester Airport

Dnata Airport City Manchester

Developer: MAG

Description: 150,000 sq ft offices and cargo handling facility

Value: £30m

Team: development manager MAG Property; investor Manchester Airport; main contractor McLaren; architect RPS; structural engineer Aecom; project manager RPS

Approaching completion, dnata due to take occupation in October 2020. In a prime location for airfield access, this will enable dnata to continue to expand and improve its air freight operations at Manchester Airport.

Stok, Stockport

Stok Glenbrook Stockport

Developer: Glenbrook

Description: 64,000 sq ft office over two large open plan floors with leisure and retail facilities in basement and ground floor

Team: Team: AWD Demolition, AEW Architects, Incognito, Edwards & Co and CBRE, BB7, SGi, GIA, Metis

Glenbrook project manager Liam Gordon said: “When Covid-19 restrictions were implemented the strip out work stopped whilst we adapted our on-site practices and awaited government guidance. Works have since resumed following the implementation of additional health, safety & wellbeing practices to ensure the site is Covid-secure. It is a very large space and operatives can work safely, abiding by the social distancing measures that have been brought into effect. AWD Demolition recently completed a full night shift to remove the existing plant & equipment from the roof of the building. A crane was situated on Princes Street for the duration to safely lift the equipment onto waiting haulage vehicles. The work was completed through the night to minimise disruption locally. We liaised closely with SMBC for all of the necessary permissions to ensure the work was completed without a hitch”

Abbey Hey Extra Care, Gorton, Manchester

Gorton Extra Care Rowlinson

Developer: Southway Housing

Description: 106-unit social rent extra-care housing for over 55s on two-acre site

Value: £14.5m

Team: Rowlinson, Pozzoni, Nicol Thomas, Scott Hughes Structural Engineer, Homes England

Roof almost complete, ground source heat pump bore field installed, internal fit-out and M&E started, as has external brick façade.

Lancashire Business Park, Leyland

Lancashire Business Park Interior July 2020

Developer: Lancashire County Developments

Description: 60,000 sq ft industrial space

Team: contractor Eric Wright Construction; architect Fletcher Rae; civil and structural engineer ADEPT CSCE; M&E engineer JRB Environmental; BREEAM Sustainably Built; highways engineer Mode Transport; building control Ball & Berry

Construction began in late March, completion due November.

Common Edge Road Playing Fields, [pin url=”“][/pin]Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Airport Common Edge Road Playing Fields

Developer: Blackpool Council Leisure Services

Description: 12 natural grass sports pitches for amateur football, rugby, hockey

Team: contractor STRI Group

Relocating playing fields opens up development land for further commercial investment on the 350-acre Enterprise Zone off the M55 in the next few years. 

Winwick Road, Warrington

Winwick Road Fletcher Rae

Developer: IDG Holdings Self-Administered Pension Fund

Description: 14,000 sq ft industrial

Team: contractor Williams Build & Design; architect Fletcher Rae; civil and structural engineer Scott Hughes; M&E Crookes Walker Consulting; highways engineer Mode Transport; landscape consultant TPM Landscape; building control Approved Inspectors; QS Warrington Martin

Bolton Octagon

Bolton Octagon

Developer: Bolton Council

Funders: Bolton Council, Octagon Theatre, Arts Council, public donations

Description: 32,000 sq ft theatre in town centre

Cost: £10.3m

Team: main contractor Willmott Dixon; JMA Architects; QS AA Projects; project manager Gardiner & Theobald; structural engineer Renaissance; M&E Waterman Group; SLAV consultant Charcoalblue

External paving and signage install, final fixing of M&E, decoration, floor laying, completion of bars, seating installation and joinery items. Completion due September 2020.

Rochdale Riverside, John Street and Baillie Street

Rochdale Riverside Next

Developer: Joint venture of Genr8 and Kajima in partnership with Rochdale Council

Description: 200,000 sq ft town centre retail and leisure destination with cinema, restaurants and retail

Cost: £39.1m

Team: principal designer AA Projects; QS Aecom; EA/PMW Arcadis Design & Consultancy; structural engineer Curtins; architect TP Bennett

Project completed and handed over during lockdown – retail elements are continuing to open due to Covid-19.

Pooley Bridge, Cumbria

Eric Wright Pooley Bridge Lunar

Client: Cumbria County Council

Cost: £5m

Description: 320-tonne steel structure lifted into place using one of the largest mobile cranes in the country

Team: main contractor Eric Wright Civil Engineering; Knight Architects

Pooley Bridge is the first stainless steel road bridge in the country. It was scheduled to be craned into position over the River Eamont in early May but with Covid-19 delay seemed inevitable. However, the bridge lift took place as scheduled on Thursday 7 May. Scheduled for completion by end of summer. 

Yeadon Way, Blackpool

Eric Wright Yeadon Way Blackpool

Client: Blackpool Council

Description: 2km of roadworks

Cost: £3.3m

Main contractor: Eric Wright Civil Engineering

The opening date was embargoed due to the road officially open before the Whitsun bank holiday weekend so as not to encourage tourists into the popular seaside resort. Work continued throughout lockdown with no complications and the road was opened on time with minimum delays.

Hyde Road Pinch Point Widening Scheme, Manchester

Eric Wright Hyde Road Bridge A57

Client: Manchester City Council

Description: 26 tonne prefabricated steel footbridge

Cost: £2.4m

Main contractor: Eric Wright Civil Engineering

Eric Wright Civil Engineering said: “The old bridge was taken out before lockdown with lots of spectators. Things were very different for the new bridge being installed – we had entered lockdown and spectators were discouraged from gathering at the event. Despite the weather, and the bridge lift already cancelled once due to high winds, the date was rearranged and on Saturday 27 June the team continued with the installation, again in poor weather conditions, and the bridge was successfully lifted into place. As part of our social value offering within the contract we would normally take on a number of apprentices. Completion scheduled for October 2020.”

Raven Locks, Salford

Developer: Network Space

Investor: InfraRed Capital Partners

Description: 172,000 sq ft speculative industrial space on 14-acre Ravenscraig Road site

Team: Portal Construction NW; AEW Architects; asset manager NSM; agents NSM, JLL and DTRE

Completion anticipated for February 2021.

Kirkby town centre

Kirkby Retail Town Centre Progress

Developer: Knowsley Council

Description: 45,000 sq ft Morrisons superstore, a Morrisons petrol station, 20,000 sq ft Home Bargains, drive-through KFC and further retail units

Team: development adviser NewRiver; contractor GMI Construction; project manager St Modwen

Demolition completed and steelwork started going up in June.

Artis Park, Winsford

Artis Winsford Eric Wright

Developer: Maple Grove Developments, Yorvale, Kier Property

Description: 124,000 sq ft speculative industrial and trade counter units on seven acres

Value: £10.8m

Main contractor HP Construction

Practical completion scheduled for 14 August.

Boundary Park, Deeside Industrial Estate


Developer: Deeside Regeneration, JV between Maple Grove Developments and Trebor Developments

Funder: Welsh Government

Description: 84,000 sq ft in three speculative industrial units

Value: £6.3m

Main contractor: Eric Wright Construction

Practical completion scheduled for August.

Cheadle Royal

Muse Schroders Cheadle Royal

Developer: Muse Developments

Partner: The Trustees of Cheadle Royal Hospital

Funder: Schroders

Description: 26,000 sq ft UK HQ for Dow Chemicals on 67-acre business park

Value: £175m

Team: Thorpe Architects and Leach Rhodes Walker; structural engineer Integra; QS Abacus; M&E consultant Hannan Associates; contract administrator Baker Hollingworth; contractor Seddon

Since March, the steel frame has been completed at Cheadle Royal, which is split over two storeys. Seddon has been progressing the shell and core of the build with the façade walls, roof and curtain walling continuing. A number of internal fittings have also been completed, including M&E installations, staircases, lift and raised access floors. 

Stockport Exchange

Muse Stockport Exchange 2

Developer: Muse Developments

Partner: Stockport Council

Description: Office gateway site linking railway station and retail core

Value: £145m

Team: architect Aedas RHWL; landscape architect Gillespies; M&E Engineer Hannan’s; contractors GMI Construction, Eric Wright completed the previous phase

GMI Construction has been completing works and closing out snags. The scheme did not shut down during lockdown and operated safely within government guidelines. Two Stockport Exchange, 61,500 sq ft, was handed over to Stockport Council on 14 May.

Time Square, Warrington

Time Square Muse Warrington

Developer: Warrington Council and Warrington & Co

Development manager: Muse Developments

Description: Market hall, Cineworld cinema, 103,000 sq ft office that will become home to Warrington Council, a new civic square, restaurants and a 1,160-space multi-storey car park with 54 EV charging points

Value: £142m

Team: architect Leach Rhodes Walker; QS Gleeds; M&E WSP; structural engineer WSP; contract administrator Arcadis; planning Avison Young; contractor Vinci; agent Metis; landscape architect Gillespies; lawyers DWF / Squire Patton Boggs

On Monday 6 July, the new permanent home for the town’s market opened its doors to the local community, safely and in line with government guidelines. The new market brings over 50 stalls, alongside a European-style food hall. 

Delamere Forest Visitor Centre, Cheshire


Developer: Forestry England

Description: Wooden-framed visitor welcome hub, car park, forest trails and access roads plus the refurbishment of existing visitor centre

Cost: £9m

Contractor: Willmott Dixon; architect Design Group Chester; framework Scape; QS Gardiner & Theobald; structural engineer Tier Consult

Reel Cinema, Blackburn 

Barnfield Reel Cinema Blackburn

Developer: Blackburn with Darwen Council

Description: Eight-screen Reel Cinema, retail and 100 space car park

Cost: £8m

Team: contractor Barnfield Construction; architect EWA; structural engineer Marston Grundy; QS Capita; employer’s agent Capita; principal designer RJD Associates; M&E consultant WH Good

Completion due autumn 2020.

UCLan student accommodation, Burnley

Barnfield Student Accommodation Burnley

Developer: Burnley Council

Description: 136 apartments, 5 storeys, part of OnTheBanks development

Cost: £8.5m

Team: contractor Barnfield Construction; architect Campbell Driver Partnership

The scheme will support UCLan, which is based in Victoria Mill across the bridge, in its plans to expand its student numbers from 400 to 4,000 over the next six years. External cladding progressing, internal works ongoing. Completion due autumn 2020.

Northlight, Brierfield 

Barnfield Northlight David McCulloch Corten Cladding (3)

Image: David McCulloch

Developer: PEARL, Pendle Enterprise and Regeneration Limited, JV between Barnfield Investment Properties and Pendle Council

Description: Phase one 40 apartments and offices on ground floor of former Brierfield Mill.

Value: £7.2m apartments, total development £32m. Previous phases include Lancashire Adult Learning Centre, part of Nelson &  Colne College, and Leisure Box for Burnley FC in the Community

Team: contractor Barnfield Construction; architect Liberata

Internal works including kitchen and bathroom installation and decoration. Completion due in autumn.

Frontier Park, Blackburn 


Developer: Monte Blackburn

Description: Speculative 276,000 sq ft industrial in two units

Value: £9.1m

Team: contractor Barnfield Construction; architect Campbell Driver Partnership

Completion due December 2020.

Market Street, Colne

Barnfield Market Street Colne

Developer: PEARL

Value: £2.4m

Description: 12 apartments for over 55’s on behalf of Peter Birtwistle Trust, above four shops on ground floor of between 1,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft

Team: contractor Barnfield Construction; architect Campbell Driver Partnership; agents Petty Commercial and Cheetham & Mortimer

New Hall Hey, Rawtenstall

New Hall Hey Rawtenstall

Developer: Slingco & Alden Green

Description: 41,900 sq ft industrial in three units

Value: £3m

Team: contractor Barnfield Construction; architect Craven Design Partnership

Depot, Whalley Range, Manchester


Developer: Rowlinson

Description: six-acre mixed housing development; 92 apartments for market rent; 72 apartments for extra care; 54 houses for mix of sale and shared ownership, planning for further 80 apartments

Value: £47m

Team: RISE homes, Mosscare St Vincent’s, Buttress Architects, SGi Shepherd Gilmour

Phase one apartments handed over in July, extra care show home completed, installation of bike storage, top soil ahead of landscaping, paving and tarmac, fencing.

UCLan Student Centre and square, Preston

UCLan Student Centre Preston

Developer: University of Central Lancashire

Description: 80,000 sq ft multi-use welcome centre for students and staff for completion spring 2021

Value: £60m

Team: project and cost manager Aecom; contractor Bowmer & Kirkland; architect Hawkins\Brown; multi-disciplinary engineer BDP; landscape architect Plincke

Completion of foundations, continuation and completion of steelwork installation and CLT slabs, commence building envelope, roof covering, commence internal fit out and first fix M&E, external works including drainage, attenuation tank and rain water harvesting tank.

Arden Hall, Sale

Arden Hall Composite

Client: Crowd UK and Aviva Insurance

Description: Restore commercial office for six independent businesses following flood damage in January 2020

Contractor: Kilmal

The project started just before lockdown, continued throughout and is nearing completion. The Kilmal project team have stripped out the existing offices back to shell, tanked the basement, constructed new partitions and ceilings, installed new mechanical and electrical services and finishes throughout.

Private house, Prestbury

Private House Prestbury

Description: 5,000 sq ft mansion

Value: £3m

Contractor: Kilmal

External facing brickwork, stonework and cladding, roof structure, roof covering and ongoing ground works. The proposed completion date is January 2021.

The Shankly Hotel, Preston

The Shankly Hotel Preston Signature Living

Image: Steven Webberley

Developer: Signature Living Group

Description: 60-room hotel in former post office overlooking Flag Market

Value: £15m

Work has resumed after a pause and Preston watchers will be hoping it completes without further problems, following the fall into administration of Signature’s Liverpool Shankly Hotel in April.

Bishopsgate Gardens, Preston

Bishopsgate Gardens Preston

Image: Steven Webberley

Developer: The Heaton Group

Description: 130 apartments

Architect: Studio KMA

35 Glovers Court, Preston

35 Glovers Court Preston

Image: Steven Webberley

Developer: Fortis Developments

Description: 30 apartments above retail and restaurant spaces

Architect: Reid Architects

Workers are on site in the early stages of converting the former warehouse.

The Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot

Shakespeare North Playhouse Prescot Construction Progress June 2020

Developer: Knowsley Council

Description: 40,000 sq ft flexible theatre with capacity for between 320 and 472 seats based on iconic 17th century ‘cockpit-in-court’ design. Prescot was the only place outside London to have a purpose-built theatre in Elizabethan times

Funders: Knowsley Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, central Government, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Foyle Foundation and the Sir Ken Dodd Charitable Foundation Trust

Team: architects Austin-Smith: Lord and Helm Architecture; QS Aecom; contractor Kier Construction, with supply chain Dodds Group, Hampsey, Adlib; historic timber frame McCurdy & Co

Since mid-March work on the reinforced concrete theatre box has been progressing including the formation of the theatre pit. The impact of the building in the centre of Prescot location is starting to be seen. Due to open 2022.

Bridge over the River Goyt, Stockport

River Goyt Bridge Stockport

Developer: Stockport Council with partner Transport for Greater Manchester

Funder: Government’s Growth Deal Fund

Cost: Part of £73m town centre access plan

Description: 40-metre bridge close to Pear Mill in Bredbury, part of off-road walking and cycling route linking Bredbury and Little Moor through Woodbank Park

Team: Bethell Construction, CTS Bridges and Ainscough Crane Hire

The bridge was lowered in to place on Friday 17 July.

Notre Dame, North Liverpool

Notre Dame HMS Torus

Developer: Torus

Description: 76 units for social rent

Value: £7.8m

Team: contractor HMS, part of Torus; architect BYA

Completed in June.

Garston Old Road, South Liverpool

Garston Old Road Torus HMS

Developer: Torus

Description: 27 units for social rent

Value: £3m

Team: contractor HMS; architect John McCall; Wilkinson Cowan; Shape

Lune Industrial Park, Lancaster

Lune Industrial Park Hurstwood Lancaster

Developer: Hurstwood

Description: 200,000 sq ft speculative industrial space

Demolition and remediation to make way for scheme. Masterplan currently being finalised.

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